Nutrition

Spirulina smoothie

Spirulina is a magic food: it is very high in protein, vitamin B, and much more. It is a power made from dried algae, and if I am really honest, I hate the taste. A couple of years ago, I used to just mix it in a glass of water and force myself to drink it. After a while, I gave up, because it gets tedious drinking things you dislike, even if they are super healthy! Here is a quick ad delicious way to incorporate it into your daily routine.

Recipe for two medium glasses:

  •  Two table spoons of organic spirulina powder
  • One large frozen banana, or if a ripe one. I didn’t add any sugar in this recipe because the banana was sweet enough. You can add a teaspoon of honey if needed.
  • 3-4 tablespoons of porridge
  • Two tablespoons of greek yoghurt for extra protein (if you are vegan, feel free to omit this one, and add an extra banana)
  • a large glass of (cow or almond/oat/coconut) milk : I like my smoothies quite thick, so feel free to add more if needed.

Mix together and serve cool (with a non-plastic straw please!).

You can also buy spirulina as tablets if you don’t like the powdered stuff, but I find it easier to add the powder to fruit smoothies as it masks the taste. With Ramadan approaching, I am also keen to find healthy recipes that will make me feel energized throughout the day. In that particular recipe, I incorporated porridge oats and yoghurt to add protein and to make it more filling. This should keep you going for a while!

Spirulina is a great ingredient because it is completely natural: it is made from an algae, Arthrospira platensis, it’s easy to use, and it has tons of beneficial properties. It has been used for centuries in some parts of Africa because it is so packed in vitamins, minerals, and essential amino-acids that the body cannot synthesize by itself. It is thus particularly useful in countries where malnutrition is an issue, such as Senegal where spirulina is popular. Several recent studies have looked at how it can be used to fight common issues: one of its health benefits for instance is that it is highly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and it is thus very useful to reduce oxidative stress. Another interesting use would be for anemia: a 2011 study looked at “the effects of spirulina and immune function in senior people” and found that it had a positive impact. A number of studies also looked at the use of spirulina in diabetic patients to regulate blood glucose, and the supplement seems to have a positive impact of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which is extremely promising. Finally, there is also suggestion that spirulina can reduce toxicity from heavy metals in the body and offer protection from radiation.

As a note of caution, spirulina can in some cases acerbates the symptoms of autoimmune conditions, because it stimulates the immune system. Therefore, it is important to proceed carefully (as with anything you take!).

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